Ten Questions with Sina Afra, CEO at Tiko

April 4, 2024
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Zillow stopped. Casavo stopped. But in Spain, one iBuyer isn't slowing down. Indeed, it's speeding up.

Turkey-based iBuyer and brokerage Tiko was founded in 2017 and has raised in excess of $65 million since. And 2024 looks set to be a growth year for the startup, which is no better exemplified by the recent acquisition of the Madrid-based brokerage Housell.

Online Marketplaces reached out to Tiko CEO Sina Afra (pictured) to build our understanding of the business, iBuying in general, Big Data, and its plans for the future...

 

Sina Afra Tiko Founder5

What problem does Tiko solve?

Traditionally, selling or buying a house takes several months, which leaves many clients frustrated. Additionally, clients face legal issues that further complicate the process.

At Tiko, we have harnessed the power of technology to accelerate the buying and selling of homes in Spain and Portugal at every step of the process.

We have built an agile, efficient and transparent real estate brokerage experience that prioritises the client, and we offer the best possible service by providing agents with the best tools on the market.

 

What’s the USP for sellers and agents using Tiko’s platform?

We offer buyers and sellers an easy and simple buying and selling process in which we help them buy or sell a house as quickly as possible without compromising on attention to detail.

For sellers, we use the most advanced technology in the market and marketing tools to amplify the reach of a property to many more potential buyers—which is a win-win for both parties.

We also believe in building trust in our system, partly to change the bad reputation of the real estate sector. We only partner with chosen real estate agent partners.

Finally, our internal platform Impulsa facilitates agents with an interconnected set of tools, making their day-to-day work much easier.

In other words, buyers and sellers with Tiko do not have to worry about anything, because the real estate agent solves everything—even the paperwork and bureaucratic issues afterwards—via Impulsa.

 

How do you make money? What numbers can you share with us?

Our business model is based on earning a commission on property sales, thanks to our great real estate brokerage service and main business model for 2024.

Thanks to our recent acquisition of Housell, we have 2,000 properties to broker, which makes us the largest digital real estate agency in Spain. We now operate in 48 provinces of Spain, meaning we are essentially nationwide.

 

How is Tiko funded? Will you seek funding this year?

We are always open to new sources of financing although we are well financed for now.

Our future need for financing will depend on our progress this year.

 

How will Tiko's product evolve in 2024?

This year we will focus most of our efforts on strengthening our brokerage business line. This is our highest priority in our 2024 business plan so that we can multiply the volume of transactions by a factor of ten.

To boost this goal, we have incorporated new important positions to lead this brokerage area and are creating a network of the best real estate agents. In this aspect, we intend to incorporate 700 real estate agents in the next 12 months.

Meanwhile, we will continue to work on the Impulsa platform.

 

Tiko loves Big Data. What can you tell us about real estate in Spain that nobody else knows?

Exactly, Tiko believes in the power of data to help our clients sell or buy their homes.

For example, in Spain, it takes on average of five months to sell a house. We used all our technology, based on algorithms and real data, to source a buyer and complete a sale in just 40 days.

This is a major milestone for the market. According to a recent survey we conducted in-house, more than half of Spaniards (53%) expect to sell their home in less than three months, despite rising interest rates.

Furthermore, the seller is in a relative hurry to sell their home. The good news is that the consumer is increasingly digital—8 out of 10 Spaniards would sell their home online without contacting the buyer.

 

From the outside, Spain’s housing market is struggling. High rents, low disposable income, not many transactions. What gave you the optimism to acquire Housell?

We are optimistic and the trend is positive.

Inflation is expected to be controlled and interest rates are expected to fall in the coming months, thus reducing the cost of financing home purchases. Moreover, with the shortage of supply and rising rental prices, buying a home is a profitable investment, especially in large cities.

We believe that the situation will improve and that we will do well, especially with a business model like ours, which is more innovative and fresher than the competition.

The Housell acquisition means Tiko is now one of the largest players in Proptech in Spain. This fundamental move consolidates our position among the market leaders in the Spanish real estate market and lays the basis for our future expansion.

 

Where does Tiko see itself in the next five years?

At Tiko, we are committed to sustainable growth and we make strategic decisions that allow us to grow every year a little more.

In the coming years, we want to scale our business to other European countries and continue to expand.

 

The iBuying model is complex and difficult to master. Zillow stopped doing it in the US, Casavo has stopped doing it in Italy. Yet Tiko is making acquisitions and growing its footprint. What makes you different?

Although we continue to offer unique products and services, such as an immediate sale or guaranteed sale, our brokerage philosophy is to sell the client's home as if it were our own. We have extensive experience in this thanks to our time at iBuying, and we give the utmost attention and dedication to each home.

We are experts in digital marketing. We invest in the most read media and social networks, we work with the best real estate portals, and we have a trusted base of buyers and a private network for investors.

We are also experts in valuation and data analysis. In this sense, we have the most reliable information on properties for sale and sale, and we provide a great after-sales service related to financing thanks to our data and agreements with partners.

 

What isn’t the real estate industry talking about that it should be talking about—and how would you tackle this issue?

I think technology is still a taboo in real estate. Our industry is one of the largest worldwide, but one of the slowest to embrace digitalization.

There remains a prejudice about how to sell a house online. But, we have proven that if you give attentive service and give the customer confidence, the business model is successful.

It sounds easy to say, but we have already achieved it!

Read more

April 4, 2024
Harvey is an experienced property journalist and copywriter. He has written about the property industry since 2015, starting at The Property Franchise Group in the UK, before moving to Spain to work for Spotahome. He has blogged for the private rented sector, ghostwritten for UK property experts and written case studies for franchise owners around the UK. Harvey joined Online Marketplaces as a News Editor in 2022.

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